IT'S BEEN proven that owning a pet can be especially beneficial to the senior person. But as we age it can become more difficult to meet a pet's physical needs such as exercise, bathing and grooming, not to mention getting them to the vet. The good news is help is at hand for elderly pet owners, and it's a free service.
The Pets for Life Project is run from the Caloundra Community Centre, catering to pet owners from Caloundra to Noosa to assist seniors and their pets to stay together. The program is currently funded by the Tim Fairfax Family Foundation.
It works by matching pet owners with screened and trained volunteers who can provide weekly/regular assistance. Activities may include dog walking, access to veterinary services through the provision of transport, and assistance with general well-being and care of the pet.
"We want to make more people aware of the program, "Mark Wischnat from Pets for Life Project said. "People who have the inability to take their dog regularly for a walk or who might need help lifting the dog up into the laundry sink for a bath will benefit from the service. It is partly about the pets but it is also about connecting people in the community, trying to match them with volunteers in their local areas. They form a relationship around the pet. It can reduce the social isolation that older people are subject to. The volunteers not only work alongside the pet owner as much as possible but can also spend some time with the older person, offering companionship."
The project is aimed at promoting healthy ageing among seniors, addressing issues of social isolation, fostering neighbourhood connections, and promoting the health and well-being benefits of pet ownership.
Pets for Life is looking for senior pet owners who think they could benefit from a little extra help. It is also looking for people interested in volunteering.
Pets for Life Project, please call Mark on 54914000 or 0414519047.